Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr Dennis Goodrum


This thesis reports on an investigation into the effects on gender behaviour of assigning specific roles (Manager, Tracker, Recorder, Communicator) to primary aged members of a cooperative learning group in science. The study was: carried out in a Year 4 and a Year 5 classroom in a Perth primary school. Both classes used a six lesson programme on a physical science topic prepared by the researcher and taught by the classroom teacher. The target subjects were randomly chosen from students meeting certain criteria defined by the researcher. All other subjects were allocated to either single- or mixed-gender groups of four. The target group was observed and their behaviour and verbal interactions coded before and after the assignment of the specified roles. Data were collected during the third school term, 1992. Data collected prior to, and subsequent to, the treatment were compared and correlated with data collected through pre- and post-programme whole class questionnaires, field notes and post-programme interviews of the target group and the participating teachers. Implications for small group teaching are discussed and suggestions for future research conclude this thesis.